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Essential California: Murder trial starts for Grim Sleeper

Good morning. It is Wednesday, Feb. 17. Is this the Twilight Zone? Was Paul McCartney really turned away from a Grammys after-party? “How VIP do we gotta get?” Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:

TOP STORIES

Encrypted device

Federal investigators have been unable to unlock the phone belonging to the San Bernardino terror suspects, so they asked Apple for assistance. When the computer giant declined, authorities sought and received a court order requiring Apple to help the FBI access encrypted data hidden on a cellphone. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook said in a statement Wednesday the company will resist the order. Los Angeles Times

Murder trial

The trial of the man accused of being the serial killer the Grim Sleeper is finally getting underway, six years after Lonnie Franklin Jr. was arrested. He is accused of killing women who were young, black and leading troubled lives. Prosecutors gave their opening statement Tuesday against the backdrop of graphic photos of the women, some of whom were found in alleys and garbage bags. Los Angeles Times

Work of art

L.A. is dotted with masterworks of modern architecture, but the Sheats-Goldstein house designed by John Lautner may be in a league of its own. It’s such a piece of art that its owner has agreed to donate it to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA envisions eventually opening it for fundraisers, exhibitions and conferences, as well as collaborations with other museums. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Rainy days: Forget the hot weather — rain is on the way Wednesday. Forecasters say the storm could bring a quarter- to a half-inch of rain in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Los Angeles and Ventura counties could receive 0.10 to 0.25 inches of rain. Los Angeles Times

L.A. AT LARGE

Rising crime: Los Angeles City Council members grilled the LAPD’s top brass Tuesday over the city’s rising crime statistics. “This is very serious. I know we're all incredibly concerned,” said Councilman Mitch Englander. Violent crime increased 20.2% in 2015 while property crimes went up 10.7%. Los Angeles Times

Traumatic birth: Dramatic details emerged about the infant left in a toilet bowl at a Subway sandwich restaurant in West Covina. “There’s a pregnant lady. She just gave birth in the restroom and she just walked out, so there’s a baby crying,” a female employee told a police dispatcher. In a 911 recording, a dispatcher urges the employee to "get the baby out of the toilet and wrap him in blankets." Los Angeles Times

Hospice care: Former L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl is receiving hospice care at his Mar Vista home. The Westside politician announced in 2012 he had cancer and would not seek reelection. LA Observed

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Not interested: State Atty Gen. Kamala Harris says she has no interest in serving on the United States Supreme Court. Her name was floated as a potential nominee in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. “I’d like to see someone who’s actually seen the impact of the court and the rulings of the court. Someone who’s thinking of it not just in a way that is theoretical, but … how these laws and these rulings affect real people,” she said. Los Angeles Times

Future of Compton: Can Compton Mayor Aja Brown make her city cool enough for the millennial generation? “When I look at Compton and all of the great advantages we have here, the institutions in the region, it’s definitely poised for new investments and new growth and just expansion,” Brown says. TakePart

Toxic cleanup: A 60-acre site that was home to a sewer plant more than 50 years ago will undergo a second cleanup to remove cancer-causing chemicals. It may be the first time a site has been reexamined after the Department of Toxic Substances Control has deemed it complete. The Press-Enterprise

CRIME AND COURTS

Campus assault: A Cal State Long Beach student says she was sexually assaulted at a party at the Kappa Sigma fraternity. The Long Beach chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended while authorities investigate. Los Angeles Times

State investigation: The state Attorney General’s Office is investigating the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s handling of the Mitrice Richardson case, six years after the woman’s remains were found in a Malibu canyon. The decision comes just three months after the office rejected the initial request for such a review. Richardson was detained by deputies in September 2009 after allegedly skipping out on a dinner bill. She was released by deputies just after midnight, when she then headed out on Agoura Road without her car or purse. Daily News

L.A. unprepared: Los Angeles is not prepared for a terrorist attack. That claim comes from some officers within the LAPD. “It's frustrating we are telling the public we are ready for a terrorist-style attack when we haven't even finished training to how to walk through a door,” said one officer with the elite Metro Division. NBC Los Angeles

Pedestrian death: A Los Angeles County judge who was an expert in communications law was killed Monday when he was struck by a vehicle while crossing a West L.A. street. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Suicidal thoughts: Fighter Ronda Rousey was at such a low point after her loss to Holly Holm that she contemplated suicide. “I was sitting in the corner and I was like, ‘What am I anymore if I'm not this?’” she said of her stunning loss after 12 straight UFC wins. Los Angeles Times

Missing artifacts: Carey's Castle and El Sid Mine in Joshua Tree are closed to prevent additional problems with looters. Cultural artifact teams will take the next month or so to inventory the area. “We had some looting at El Sid that started a few months ago. We actually bought some artifacts to replace the original ones and they got stolen, too,” said park Supt. David Smith. Los Angeles Times

In the pictures: Secretary of State John Kerry met with Hollywood studio chiefs in Los Angeles to discuss various topics including Islamic State and perceptions of America's image around the world. Los Angeles Times

Diversity in art: The Grammys were definitely more diverse than the upcoming Oscars. But did Taylor Swift’s win for Album of the Year over Compton’s Kendrick Lamar show the Grammys have their own issues? Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

San Diego will start the day with fog and reach a high of 72 degrees. Los Angeles will be foggy and 73. Riverside will be sunny and 78 degrees. Sacramento will be 66 degrees and rainy in the afternoon. San Francisco will have afternoon rain and a high of 62 degrees.

AND FINALLY

Today's California Memory comes from Ria Tanz Kubota:

“Arrived in San Francisco in 1980, met the love of my life. We roamed the Bay Area from Cliff House where seals barked, hiked cliffs over Ocean Beach including Sutro Baths ruins with ground squirrels popping out, endless trails. Pirate's Cove — clinking announced sea otters long before sighted. Toured Legion of Honor, Asian, Museum of Modern Art, and Oakland Museum. Lake Merritt with cormorants, egrets, pelicans amazed us. Camped Yosemite, Pescadero, Bishop. Old Faithful Geyser, mud baths, swimming at Calistoga. Presidio walks, Golden Gate Bridge and Park, Pier 39 performers. Fog. Freezing cold fog.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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